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Homeopathy. Science-Based Medicine.

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  1. 1. UBC SBM Homeopathy www.sbmubc.org
  2. 2. UBC SBM Table of Contents • Famous Numbers • Homeopathy – History – Dilutions – Common misconceptions – Homeopathic vaccines – Examples – Ethics – Interesting facts
  3. 3. Famous Numbers • There are lots of famous numbers: • Pi, or π, or 3.14 Pi is not: UBC SBM
  4. 4. Famous Numbers • There’s also Avagadro’s Number: 6 x 1023 That’s the same as a six with 23 zeros! 600 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 That’s a BIG number! UBC SBM
  5. 5. Famous Numbers Avagadro’s number is really interesting because that’s how many molecules of O2 there are in 22.4 litres - About 6 milk jugs Also called a “Mole” UBC SBM
  6. 6. Moles • A mole of paper would make a stack to moon and back 80 billion times • A mole of seconds is about 19 quadrillion years UBC SBM
  7. 7. Medicine and Homeopathy • The numbers are important! (more later) UBC SBM
  8. 8. Medicine in 18th Century • Pre-scientific and often harmful – Bloodletting • The cure often worse than disease! • Doing “nothing” appears like good medicine UBC SBM
  9. 9. History of Homeopathy • Invented by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 – Germany • Was bothered by current explanation for how cinchona bark cured malaria. – “Strengthens the stomach” – In fact contains Quinine • kills malaria parasite UBC SBM
  10. 10. History of Homeopathy • Decided to dose himself with cinchona – Palpitations – Anxiety – Trembling – NO fever (malaria causes very high fevers) • Concluded first tenant: “like cures like” – If two diseases with “similar” symptoms affect patient, the “stronger” disease cures “weaker” – Only experiment behind “like cures like” UBC SBM
  11. 11. History of Homeopathy • Second tenant: Potentization – Serial dilutions and succussions (shakings) – Believed made remedy more potent • Not a single molecule remained UBC SBM
  12. 12. History of Homeopathy • “Provings” – Healthy subjects given preparation – EVERY sensation, feeling, mood change, and physical change over days to months caused by preparation • No matter how trivial or vague • Example: “dreams which are not remembered” or “tickling sensation on the palm which obliges a person to scratch” UBC SBM
  13. 13. History of Homeopathy • Materia Medica – Textbook of provings – 1300 recorded – Half before 19th century – 65 from Hahnemann • Randomized controlled trials: – “provers” not able to distinguish between homeopathic preparation and placebo UBC SBM
  14. 14. Modern Homeopathy • Same core tenants – Homeopathic vaccines • Opposition to immunizations – “Nosodes” • Potentized diseased animal parts UBC SBM
  15. 15. Homeopathic Logic • Example: A drug that wakes you up? • Does decaf coffee put you to sleep? ... • Lets look at dilutions – More fun with numbers! UBC SBM Dilute!
  16. 16. Dilutions • Exactly how dilute does homeopathy go? • Listed as multiples of “C”. – C is diluted 100 times. – 2C is 100 x 100 = 10 000 times diluted. – Up to 200C ... • The “most potent” homeopathic dose is a dilution of 10400! (or a dose of 10-400) – A mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole UBC SBM
  17. 17. Dilutions 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000001 UBC SBM
  18. 18. Dilutions • Some perspective: – How much of 12C homeopathic remedy would you need to get just 1 molecule of caffeine? – The ENTIRE Atlantic Ocean!!! – How many molecules are you getting in a pill? • Zilch. Nada. Zero. UBC SBM
  19. 19. How do Vaccines Work? • Vaccines can be made several different ways: weakening the bug, killing it, using only some of its proteins, etc • What all of these methods do is allow your body to recognize part of the bug so that you can strengthen your immune system UBC SBM
  20. 20. Homeopathic Vaccines • Has no molecule of the bug! • Your body cannot build an immune response • Homeopathic vaccines have been shown to not be effective to stop infection – Use proper immunizations! UBC SBM
  21. 21. Misconceptions • Homeopathy is NOT naturopathy. – But often naturopaths practice homeopathy • All who trained in BC are taught it – Homeopathy = lots and lots of dilutions UBC SBM
  22. 22. Examples • Oscillococcinum – Very popular as “flu treatment” or “vaccine” – Duck liver and heart diluted 10400 times – No evidence to work • “Neurexan” sleeping pill – Made from coffee! – Famously, people try to overdose on it • They can’t. UBC SBM
  23. 23. Ethics • It is unethical to knowingly give a patient a placebo without telling them – Truth telling • Homeopathy has been shown consistently to be no different from placebo. • Therefore, it is unethical to not inform people that it is no better than placebo. UBC SBM
  24. 24. Interesting Facts • James Randi offers a $1 Million prize to anyone who can prove homeopathy works UBC SBM
  25. 25. Summary • Homeopathy started in Germany in 1700s, not thousands of years ago. • Belief that “like cures like” – At infinitesimal doses • No good evidence that it works • No scientific plausibility that it could work • Ultimately: Very expensive water UBC SBM
  26. 26. References • Cullen W. Materia Medica. In: History of Homœopathy: its Origin; its Conflict, Ameke, WE (Eds), Gould & Son, London 1885. p.103. • Hahnemann, SC. Organon of Medicine, 5th ed, Dudegeon 1833. www.homeopathyhome.com/reference/organon/18.html#53 (Accessed on July 15th, 2012). • Fishbein M. The Rise and Fall of Homeopathy. In: Fads and Quackery in Healing, Fishbein M (Ed), Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., New York 1932. p.19. • Brien S, Lewith G, Bryant T. Ultramolecular homeopathy has no observable clinical effects. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proving trial of Belladonna 30C. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2003; 56:562. • Walach H, Köster H, Hennig T, Haag G. The effects of homeopathic belladonna 30CH in healthy volunteers -- a randomized, double-blind experiment. J Psychosom Res 2001; 50:155. • Vickers AJ, van Haselen R, Heger M. Can homeopathically prepared mercury cause symptoms in healthy volunteers? A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med 2001; 7:141. • Vickers A, McCarney R, Fisher P, van Haselen R. Can homeopaths detect homeopathic medicines? A pilot study for a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled investigation of the proving hypothesis. Br Homeopath J 2001; 90:126. • Dantas F, Fisher P, Walach H, et al. A systematic review of the quality of homeopathic pathogenetic trials published from 1945 to 1995. Homeopathy 2007; 96:4. • Ernst, E. “A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy”. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Dec; 54(6):577-82 UBC SBM